Sunday, June 21, 2015

Please Don't Tell Me Happy Father's Day...

I am a Mother. I am also the sole homemaker and sole breadwinner, roles shared by married/cohabiting parents. In addition, I am not only my son's primary caregiver, I am his only caregiver.

I am not, however, his father. 

While I understand the logic and sentiment behind images like this one, I don't agree with them. My son has a father. His father is who and how he is, and my son understands this. And while his father is not involved enough in his life to show him how to be an amazing dad one day, he certainly serves to show my son how one totally bungles up the special privilege of being a dad. He accepts his father as he is and the minor role that he plays in our lives. He knows that two parents are the ideal and he knows that that I am not both his mother and father. I am only his mother, a role that is sacred and special. I don't consider myself performing the job of two parents because I simply do what I do, as I have done it every day since he's been born.

Does this make me somehow more impressive or worthy of acclaim than married moms or moms who share custody and parental responsibilities? I don't think so. This is simply my experience, an experience I chose in many ways. My son's father never really hid who he was; in other words, he didn't exactly shout out 'good father material' when we were dating. I knew early into my pregnancy that I was in it on my own, and I accepted that.

Ten and half years later, it is all I know. My only parenting experience is doing it solo, and while I have made mistakes along the way, as we all do, my son is an amazing young man who has a deep love for others, compassion for the less fortunate and a strong sense of fairness and social justice. He willingly gives his time to help others and loves service, something very important to me as both a mother and a person. He overcame a severe speech disorder and the accompanying reading challenges that it presented and is now thriving. Other children ring my doorbell almost incessantly to play with him during weekends and school breaks, so I think socially, he's also doing pretty well. Recently he became a vegetarian, a choice he made on his own and has held strong to because he believes it's a kinder lifestyle and better for the environment. I'm able to provide him the things that he needs and some of the things that he wants, for which I am so grateful. He's growing up to be confident, independent and strong.

Does any aspect of this make me a bad-a**? I don't know about that, but I do know none of the things I've done for my son over the past ten and a half years have made me a father. So please don't tell me Happy Father's Day, because  I'm a mother. Maybe a bad-a** mother - that's a matter of opinion - but a mother all the same. So today is not my day. Don't focus attention on me; show some love to all the wonderful fathers out there who are making a difference in the lives of their children, step-children, and grandchildren every day, just by doing what they do. 

Because they are out there. They matter.

And they're pretty bad a**, too.


Anonymous said...

Hey just wanted to tell you that I get your logic on being a single mother but on the other hand if you are serving as both parents then I would like to commend you for it !!! Loves & Hugs Michael W Harrison

DJL said...

I've been reading a bit through your archives and wanted to say I think your son is lovely (you too, of course!) He seems like such a thoughtful, sweet, compassionate soul. So job well done!
I'm a single mom too (you know me on Instagram: Nieveestrellas) and while my girls do have their Dad very much in their lives, I know what it means to be a single mom. So cheers to you!